Sunday, April 27, 2014

Stepping Back To Move Forward

Multiple angles to the decision I made.  In no certain order, this is how it happened.

Part 1 (get ready for some weird)
I had this dream... I was teaching a class in a really cool room... It felt like a cabin with many windows and natural light... very relaxing but energetic.... I remember it feeling like "home."  So I'm doing the thing and another instructor stood up, who I do not care for, and asked if he could add something.  I said yes and turned around to adjust the music.  When I turned back, the room was empty.
So I walked outside into a field and there was the class, but now with a different instructor and she said "mind if I add something?" and I again said yes and again turned to play with my ipod.  I turned around to see the class again and again, they were in a different location and with another instructor... I remember feeling very alone and I just watched from a distance.
I turned to gather my things and walk away but before I did, one of my clients called out to me.  I turned to reply, she was carrying two blue dumbbells and she said "ok, we're ready now."  I said "For what?  It's over," and she replied, "We don't want this from you anymore," and looked over at he yoga group,  "We want you for this," and motioned at the weights.
I woke up and knew what it meant.

Part 2
I was getting to the point where a potential contract would come up and I'd think "This will be good for the company."
Did you get that?  A potential contract... aka client, and I'd think "This will be good for the company," as if saying "I'm taking this contract to further the name."
What a douche.
This was a big flag but it didn't stop me at the time.

Part 3
The pressure of monthly numbers affected my training.  I'd be in the building and it would hover over me like a cloud... "we need x amount of monthly members and then this many "drop ins," and then we're in the positive."  And after every class, I'd see the attendance and see the payments and I'd either be pleased or pissed.
It's just not me.

Part 4
So I tried to give it away.   I told people "I cant be the business side of this.  Take this and just hire me like an employee... just let me train..."
But no one would take it.  I couldn't give it away!  I literally laugh thinking about that... So many meanings and feelings behind that one.
"You have to keep it going."  No, you take it and hire me. "Ummm no."

So adding all of this together it came down to one conclusion and that's to close the room and do what I do best, personal training and badass bootcamps.  Could I have continued in the Power Room?  Not under these conditions, not in this situation.  The stress of trying to create the profit to cover everything, like I said, it hurt the training and was motivating me to make decisions that weren't true... that weren't "me."  I was too distracted being there and I know it was all in my head and the pressure I created but I cant help it.  I refuse to do average things.  And I have a history of ending things that are "average," to burn it down and start new again.  (Do you get that?)  Think of it as reincarnation...

This decision is a mini step backwards in order to reload, re-energize and realign and I truly believe its exactly what I needed.  Believe me, this decision was super hard and emotional... still is.  I still have 5 more weeks in there and I know its going to challenge me down the stretch.  It's going to hurt to walk away on May 31 and know I'm losing some awesome partners and probably some amazing members... (even writing that right now... bet I'm wearing a baseball hat that day to "hide" :)

My daughters came to class this week and they think that room is so cool... that makes it hard too.

I  was stretching too far, I was trying to do too much.  I was wearing too many "hats."  Where I am now, where I feel I'm headed, its more focused.  Its better already.
Maybe I was hanging onto the ego of "my room," of the "Blue Chip Power Room."

I remember a guy left us and he said (over the phone) "Thanks for letting me use Blue Chip to sharpen up for this next step."  Like BC was a stepping stone to a bigger opportunity.  At that point, I knew even the yoga world in NE Ohio was just a business and I really struggled with that and it really changed my perception because the more I looked around, the more I saw how it just wasn't what I thought it was.  I never really felt like I "fit in," with the little club, probably for good reasons.  BC was never going to be like the others.
I'm not really a businessman and I just cant see myself every operating with something so personal, so fragile (yoga and training) in a dollars and cents manner.

But I found myself leaning towards retiring... I was really struggling to find the will to continue training at all.  I'd see the logo, or the pens, the t-shirts, the hoodies, the gifts I've recvd over the years and I'd get anxiety.  "Blue Chip Strength, Conditioning & Fitness, LLC," and it was really making me legitimately depressed.  I was cancelling sessions, and let my own training take a distant back seat.  I found myself going for walks w/ self help audio books in my ipod, which was nice, but I was so down, I didn't even give a shit what they were saying.  All their "self help," help I felt just didn't apply to me.  

Then I saw this on Tait's instagram page and his hashtag #ineedyoutotry...
...And I sat and wondered "What do I wish existed?"
A random guy... with a real passion for a fun style of progressive training, grounded in the basics... he just runs these badass bootcamps in random parks throughout the week for like $5 and doesn't give a shit about profit or rent or anything "business..." he actually works out with the group... and he helps build an awesome little community of beautiful people that share their passions and work together to achieve goals.

If you're training with me in the future, be optimistic... I think you're in the process of having a trainer that's coming back into his prime and even further.  I feel focused again.  I'm truly feeling a breath of fresh air and clear thoughts about this and I know that will translate into more energetic, more intelligent sessions.

Maybe taking a step back to move forward.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Best Of You

Untapped potential.
Sand bagging.
Holding back.
Some sort of mental blockage that keeps you at a "6," when you know there's a "10," burning to explode inside.

Last night, I'm running a really intense class and at one point it hit me... "This is hard, but they're holding back... what are they saving it for?"
Safety?  Was it fear?  Were they afraid of feeling too much discomfort?
So I eventually said something along those lines, "What are you doing?  Go hard!  You have nothing to wait for..."
They obviously crushed it the way they always do, but the reminder was needed.

And as I drove to work this morning, I thought about other areas of life where this analogy can be used and why.
Actually the "why," escapes me.  I don't know if I'll ever understand the urge to hold back, to keep something in the reserve.
I think too many people are still asleep at the "clock," never mind the wheel, they're no where near driving.
It's just a cruise control ship and they're just looking at their phone, not even enjoying the view.
I think people feel like a victim to their own day, the day they actually created, and in return, they're energy sucks and they don't offer the world or their world, much enjoyment.  Hard statement and you may know someone who fits that description.
Dont be caught in the thought of being a victim of any sort.  You have the power to control every single aspect of your life, if you want.
And if you're not aggressively working to consistently deliver the very best version of yourself, what the F are you doing?

Monday, April 14, 2014

"What can I expect?" she said.

And as long as I've been training, that was the first time anyone ever asked, and I hesitated....
The question was referring to the Bikini Boot that's starting next week.  20+ participants, training w me twice per week, hitting 2 yoga classes per week and an additional cardio/Bootcamp class plus a very highly recommended nutrition plan courtesy of the "Mike Dolce Living Lean Cookbook."
So what you can all expect is change.  You will see muscles in your arms and shoulders you never have.  You'll see abs you never have.  You'll see tone and definition in your legs, you never have.  You'll be running faster, you'll be breathing better, you'll have more balance, more focus, and more energy.  
Everything you currently do, you'll be doing it better by June 1. IF you show up, IF you work as hard as you can, and IF you follow the meal plan.  
Now, the woman that asked me this question, I'm not concerned about her effort or intensity, she's at the top and knows what she's getting into, I'm writing in general. 
Show up, work hard, follow the book and you'll be very proud with the results of your efforts.  Guaranteed. 


"What can I expect?" she said.
Change.  You can even try to hide your head under the pillow all year and think it's not going to happen, but it is.  It's the one thing we can't stop.  One way or another, everything changes.
Our scenery changes, our bodies change, our minds change, everything changes.  
What are you going to do?
Being angry or bitter about it, will only remove your joy.  
We age.
Our favorite players retire.
Our musicians disappear.
Our heros burn out or fade away.
Expect change.

Thursday, April 10, 2014


(Some intense Explosions in the Sky is in the background for this one.)
The first time I heard the phrase "bittersweet," was November 4th, 1994.  Most of my clients weren't even born yet and 30% of the others were 5-8 years old... Wow.   I'm not a guy that holds onto history and the "glory years," but I do remember great speeches and moments w people I care about.  I was 17 and we just finished our high school footba season.  We were just 3-6 heading into week 10 and playing a Solon team that had some real studs and headed to the playoffs.  We were a pretty tough undersized group of guys... But we found a little magic that night and won 10-0, removing them from the 4th seed and out of the playoffs.  
We gathered in the ends one for postgame talk like most teams do.  I don't remember the entire speech but I remember coach explaining what the term meant and how well it fit the occasion.  
Sad that it was over, happy that it happened.

Sooooo.... Here we are.  Two years ago, I was working w my dad and future finance, laying the floor down for our future yoga room, the Blue Chip Power Room.  I had a vision of bringing a non Lulu, non-snooty version of something I loved and found tremendous benefits in, Power Yoga.  (Don't be offended 😘 you Lulu's know how you come off.)
And despite closing soon, it worked.  I wanted to bring it to people who may not have tried it otherwise.  I think it can be a little intimidating for some people to walk into a yoga studio and I think there's a stigma, right or wrong about being judged or watched or whatever.  I'm lucky enough that I'm an idiot and give zero .... about that any of that.  But I'm 6'ish, 240ish, tattoos, bald head, beard or something, so hearing "you need some yoga," comes off a bit differently coming from me, same as hearing a smaller woman pitch weight training.  You expect to hear "go squat!" from a guy like me and "namaste," from her... But I tell you both and then go run 3 miles.  I knew I had an advantage because I don't believe in "boxes," or labels.  "Do it all."

Prior to the room, most of my personal training clients never tried yoga and thought it was a "wuss," thing to do.  
Prior to the room, most of my athletes laughed when I'd recommend it.
Prior to the room, no men I knew bothered with even trying it. 
Now?  They're searching for studios that offer classes when we don't, the athletes request it constantly and the men have felt the benefits.  
Mission accomplished and that truly, truly is my reward.  

I never turned anyone away.  Someone would text "how much is it?  I want to try."  I'd say $10.  They'd say "ok, maybe another time."  I'd say "get your ass to class!  My treat."

I receive texts and messages from former clients who are away at school or moved and they tell me about the studio they found or that they're going to become an instructor one day.  I doubt they know how happy that made me to hear.  

We tinkered around w adding different types of classes and found that a strength training element would be beneficial.  Again, people have their hang ups about certain things, telling women "weights won't make you bulky," isn't always recvd well.  But now they know.  Mission accomplished.  

So we're in the homestretch here... Only about 7 weeks or so to go, and maybe 35 classes or so.  Despite the decision to close, I'm going to enjoy our finale very much.  I have a feeling the intensity will be different.
Like a team headed into week 10 with nothing to lose.

...more to come.


At a younger age, everyone should lose their job.  They should get dumped too.  Oh, and eat tuna out of a can and potatoes for a couple weeks.  Sleep a couple nights in the park.  Maybe lose your apt for a month and not know where you're going to sleep?  That'll help too.  What else?  Ah, yes, be so worried about money and the job you just lost, that you go file for unemployment benefits.
You need to screw up sales.
The bar needs to crash on your chest.
You need to hear "No."
You need to fall, you need to fail.
(I needed no one to show up for classes)

In movement, we have positive and negatives and I use this often.  Lets use push ups as the example.  You can push and push and push and eventually be all out of the positive push and you'll make gains from "max-ing," out that push.  But you still have negative energy.  So when you're all out the push, you need to have a friend help you back and you work the negative, the drop, the fall as slow as possible and you do this until even that energy is depleted.  Its grueling and if you do this, and do it til complete failure, you'' make noises you never knew you could.  I train pull ups the same way.  You pull and pull and eventually, you're just dropping as slow as possible until its a completely worthless movement and the arms are rubber.
But through all that work, all that failing, comes strength and a shitload more.
You gain mental strength and a power you never knew you had.

Those humbling experiences mean so much.  How fragile and insecure it all really is, that presence of mind is needed to keep you aware, alive and hungry for life.

On a recent podcast, Rogan said "the worst thing that could've happened would've been to win the lottery at 22... I would've been a complete loser."  Because he never would've learned the grind, he never would've failed at anything because the money, unfortunately, buys success.  
And even when you think you've arrived and taste some success, you need the occasional slip ups and flops to remind you how easy it can all slip away.

Complacency will absolutely ruin you.

You also need to be your own critic and know when you've failed, even if they don't see it.  

All those moments at the top of the blog and others like it will build an inner fire, a desire for the grind, and a fearless heart.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

drop the leash, drop the leash...

I've heard variations of the story, so i'll try to write it how coach said it.
Back in the day of the travelling circus, mgmt would buy or trade for baby elephants to train for the shows.  When they were young, they'd leash the elephants with chains and pike the chains to the ground or something too heavy for the elephant to pull.  Over time, the elephant started to correlate the sound of the chain with an immovable object and not pull.  As the elephant grew older, the chain was all that was needed, because the elephant had given up pulling, always thinking the chain was attached to an immovable object when in reality, the only thing holding the animal back was a pike in the ground and a mental obstacle.

The sound of the chain was all that was needed.

   Most of us have had the "baby elephant," experience.  A lot of us are still hearing the "chains."  I've told this story out-loud, not sure if I've written it.  When I was in high school I was signed up to go on a college visit (I think I may have been in 10th grade).  The morning of the visit, my "guidance counselor," pulled me into the office and told me that she had removed me from the tour because I "wasn't college bound."  Now, being 37 I'm loaded with responses to that moment (insert huge grin), and I actually thank her now, but at the time it became a "chain," and a label and I told myself  "I'm not college bound," and I settled for that.

   Let's dive deeper...
We hear things as kids, good and bad, right and wrong, and they stick.  They become a part of who we think we are.  And then as we grow up, we hold onto it because we think it really is who we are...  but its not... and that's our search.
Who am I?

I think you should think about your rules.
I think you should think about why you do what you do.
Think about what drives you...
What turns you on inside..
What really fires you up and inspires you...
What are you passionate about?
What cant you live without?

I think a lot of us get to a point where we stop daydreaming and having those important conversations.
I think a lot of us have stopped searching for our truth and true identity.
I think we're so much more than we let ourselves be.

This Is Blue Chip